September 30, 2011
On Thursday, Taiwan University Hospital reported that five transplant patients who mistakenly received organs from a deceased HIV-positive donor continue to test HIV-negative. Medical staff started the organ recipients on HIV prophylaxis a day after discovering the transplant error, which occurred on Aug. 24. Two patients remain hospitalized, while three have been discharged, said Chang Shan-Chwen, TUH's vice superintendent.
TUH has submitted medical treatment plans for the five patients and pledges to cover all treatment expenses, Taiwan health officials said Thursday. TUH also has begun negotiations over compensation for the three patients who have been discharged. All five patients will be evaluated for at least half a year to assess whether they have avoided infection, said Hung Chien-Ching, a TUH physician.
Also on Thursday, health authorities issued an investigative report faulting TUH for human errors that allowed the HIV-positive donor's organs to be transplanted. TUH transplant team members heard a lab worker indicate over the telephone that the donor's HIV test results were non-reactive, or HIV-negative; however, no other notification or confirmation method was used to double-check the test result. Another team at Cheng Kung University Hospital, which conducted one of the five transplants, took the TUH team's word that the donor was HIV-negative. The donor's HIV-positive test result was only discovered by medical staff after all the transplants were completed.
TUH will be fined 500,000 New Taiwan dollars (US $16,400) for the accident, authorities said. TUH transplant task force leader Ko Wen-tse, who resigned earlier this month after taking responsibility for the mistake, also faces punishment.